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ChrisDolan (2855)

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Journal of ChrisDolan (2855)

Saturday March 03, 2007
03:06 AM

Hack: Gzipping static content for Catalyst

[ #32551 ]

All the major browsers support gzipped content, signalled by the HTTP request header "Accept-Encoding: gzip". Several toolkits support auto-gzipping dynamic content in this case (Catalyst::Plugin::Compress::Gzip, Apache::Compress and my own CGI::Compress::Gzip )

But what about static content (specifically .js and .css files)? Compression of static content doesn't matter as much because it will be cached after the first hit, but that first hit is also a first impression. Gzip can dramatically reduce the download size of the first hit, especially for sites with modern dynamic content (like scriptaculous and its ilk).

In my current Catalyst project, I added a step to gzip all of my .js and .css files as part of the build process, then I did somthing like this in my header template:

[% SET gz = !c.config.devsite && c.req.header('Accept-Encoding').search('gzip') ? '.gz' : '' %]
  <link rel="stylesheet" href="[% c.uri_for( "/css/site.css${gz}" ) %]" type="text/css" />
  <script type="text/javascript" src="[% c.uri_for( "/js/prototype.js${gz}" ) %]"></script>

I deliberately turn it off on the dev site because I change those files without rebuilding the whole app.

On a related note, can someone recommend a JS squisher that has a nicer API than JavaScript::Minifier?

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  • I'm sorry I can only unrecommend JavaScript::Squish []. It produces non-working JS for very simple input.

    These regexes worked for me:

            $output =~ s(^\s*//.*$)()gm; # c++ style comments on line without code
        $output =~ s(^\s+)()gm;      # leading white space
        my $end = "\s*[\r\n]+";
        $output =~ s(;$end)(;)g;     # no newline after ;
        $output =~ s({$end)({)g;     # no newline after {

    • Interesting, that's more detailed than my own conservative attempt:

      $in =~ s{^/\*.*?\*/}{}gxms;
      $in =~ s{^//.*?$}{}gxms;
      $in =~ s{^[ ]+}{}gxms;
      $in =~ s{\n+}{\n}gxms;
      I deliberately only strip from beginning or ends of line to reduce risk of stripping from inside quotes. The above already chops enough that I can feel comfortable indenting and commenting my Javascript code thoroughly.